These are the most important foreign languages for the French jobs market

English is not the only foreign language the French need to have the best chance of finding work.

These are the most important foreign languages for the French jobs market
Photo: Maxxy Ustas/Depositphotos
English is by far the most in-demand language for employers in France, but it is not the only one worth having, a new study has revealed.
The search site JobLift has analysed job adverts in France to work out just what foreign languages are the most useful to have.
There are no prizes for guessing which one comes out on top of course, with English dominating the job pages.
In the last 24 months some 891, 226 job adverts asked for applicants who were able to master English. JobLift points out that is despite the UK and US making up just 11.8 percent of France's trading relationships.
Following English was German, with 72, 560 job adverts asking for applicants who can master the language of Goethe, Einstein and Merkel.
Germany is France's number one trading partner making up 16.8 of the country's trade.
In third place following English and German came Spanish with 56, 380 job adverts asking for the applicants to be able to speak the language of Julio Iglesias. Spain accounts for 6.4 percent of France's foreign trade.
And after those top three languages, the next most important tongue was Italian with 11,500 job offers looking for bilingual French and Italian speakers. Many jobs that required Italian were in the fields of sales and finance.
After Italian the Arabic language was next in the rankings with 6,383 job offers asking for applicants with fluent Arabic, even though no Arab speaking country was a major trading partner for France. 
Making up the top 10 were Dutch, Chinese, Portuguese,  Russian and Japanese.
The stats show just how advantageous it is for young professionals in France to speak English but do they have they adequate level?
A recent survey revealed that one in three French workers feel their lack of English has cost them job opportunities. 
Just under one third of all age groups believe language barriers impeded their ability to rise up through the ranks at work, according to a new survey of English language students carried out by the ABA English school. 
The stats were even higher among those aged 20 to 45, with 55 percent of respondents saying they felt their lack of language skills meant they missed a chance to boost their professional development.
The poor level of English among French people made headlines in November last year, when France once again finished last in the EU in a worldwide ranking of English ability.
The French were deemed to have a “moderate proficiency” in English, and were lumped in with the South Koreans, the Indonesians, the Bulgarians and the Italians, according to the study by global language training company Education First.
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How to get a summer job in France

As the summer holidays approach in France, many employers are looking for seasonal workers - so if you're looking for a summer job, here's how to go about it.

How to get a summer job in France

There are thousands of employment offers in France – a simple internet search for jobs d’été came up with numerous jobs boards offering work in France, while the government-backed Centre d’Information et de Documentation pour la Jeunesse (CIDJ) offers advice and information on all aspects of life for young people in France, including finding seasonal work and summer placements.

Sectors including agriculture, hospitality and tourism are always recruiting in the summer, seeking fruit-pickers, holiday camp workers and serving/hotel staff.

But what are the rules for people seeking summer jobs?

READ ALSO Vendange: What you really sign up for when you agree to help with the French wine harvest


Children from the age of 16 (under certain circumstances, the age limit drops to 14) who are legally resident in France can work as long as they have written authorisation from their parents or legal guardians. A model authorisation letter is available here

Those under the age of 18 cannot undertake certain jobs for health and safety reasons.

In the following circumstances, children as young as 14 or 15 can work during school holidays.

  • The holidays must last at least 14 days;
  • The child must work no more than half the days of the holiday – so, if a vacation period is two weeks, they can work for no more than one of those weeks;
  • The child is given ‘light duties’ that offer no risk to their safety, health, or development;
  • From the age of 15 and if the child has completed their troisieme education, a minor can register for an apprenticeship. 


Salary is usually paid monthly and will have a payslip. For those aged 18 and over, pay will be at least equal to the minimum wage.

 For those aged 14 to 17, who have less than six months’ professional experience, the minimum allowed rate is 80 percent of the minimum wage. For those aged 17 to 18, the rate rises to a minimum of 90 percent of France’s minimum wage.

  • The minimum wage in France is currently €10.85 gross per hour (€1,645.58 gross per month based on a 35-hour week);
  • the employment contract is fixed-term and can take different forms (fixed-term contract, seasonal employment contract, temporary employment contract, etc);
  • Seasonal employees are subject to the same obligations as the other employees of the company and have access to the same benefits (canteens, breaks, etc.).

Under 18s have certain additional protections:

  • between the ages of 14 and 16, during school holidays, employees on any contract cannot work more than 35 hours per week nor more than 7 hours per day;
  • They cannot work at night;
  • Those aged 14 to under 16 working during their school holidays can only be assigned to work which is not likely to harm their safety, their health or development.

Right to work in France

If you’re a French citizen or hold permanent residency in France then you have the right to work, but for foreigners there are extra restrictions.

Anyone who holds the passport of a EU/EEA country or Switzerland, is free to work in France or to travel to France seeking work without needing a visa or work permit.

Most other people will need permission to work in France – even if it’s only for a short period or for casual work such as grape-picking. Depending on your country of origin you may need a visa – everything you need to know about that is here.

In addition to the visa, you may also need a work permit, which is the responsibility of the employer.  To employ anyone in France for less than 90 days, an employer must get a temporary work permit – before the prospective employee applies for a short stay visa. This permit is then sent to the embassy at which the employee is applying for a visa.

If you come from countries including the UK, USA and Canada you can spend up to 90 days in France without a visa – but you may still need a work (convention d’accueil) if you want to work while you are here.

READ ALSO Six official websites to know if you’re planning to work in France

Certain countries have specific ‘seasonal worker’ visas on offer, for certain sectors which allows – for example – Canadians to come to France and work the ski season. 

Cash-in-hand jobs

Certain sectors which have a lot of casual workers – for example seasonal fruit-picking – do have cash-in-hand jobs, known in France as marché noir (black market) or simply travail au black (working on the black, or working illegally). 

This is of course illegal and working this way carries risks – as well as the possibility of losing your job if labour inspectors turn up you are also in a vulnerable position. If your employer suddenly decides not to pay you, or make unexpected deductions from your wages, there is very little you can do about it since you won’t have any kind of work contract.